SERIES: “Counterfeit gods” 
TEXT: 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-9
MESSAGE: “The Empty Promises of Money”
Q: How can we make money into an idol?
“…money can be a surface idol that serves to satisfy more foundational influences. Some people want lots of money as a way to control their world and life, and such people usually don’t spend much money and they live very modestly. They keep it all safely saved and invested so that they can feel completely safe in the world. Others want money for access to social circles and to make themselves beautiful and attractive. These people do spend their money on themselves in lavish ways. Other people want money because it gives them so much power over others. In every case, money functions as an idol, and yet because of various deep idols it results in very different patterns of behavior. The person using money to serve a deep idol of control will often feel superior to others and use money to obtain power or social approval. In every case however, money idolatry enslaves and distorts lives.” — Timothy Keller
“No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve both God and money.” — Matthew 6:24
TEXT: 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-9
Q: What can the idol of money do to us? It can distort our…(1. Perspective 2. Preference 3. Priorities)
  1. Perspective (16:1-2; 8:3-4)
“Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come”…v. 3 “For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints…”
“What is the task of the church? We are to embody Jesus Christ by doing what He did and what He continues to do through us: declare—using both words and deeds —that Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords who is bringing in a kingdom of righteousness, justice, and peace. And the church needs to do this where Jesus did it, among the blind, the lame, the sick and outcast, and the poor.” — Steve Corbett “When Helping Hurts”
“Is it really better to give than receive? A new study adds to a growing body of research that suggests it is—at least when it comes to your health. The research, recently published in the Journal of Economic Psychology, found that donating to charity may actually improve a giver’s physical and emotional well being.”  Lisa Ward
  1. Preference (8:1-2; 5-7)
“We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part…and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of graceBut as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.”
“The Corinthians, you may remember from First Corinthians, had a special interest in miraculous and revelatory spiritual gifts as well as oratory gifts. For them, those are the kind of spiritual overflow they like to share. And so in verse seven here “faith” is likely a reference to miracleworking faith, “speech” is likely a form of charismatic speech, and “knowledge” is probably a kind of theological understanding. “Earnestness” and “our love for you” seem to relate to their relationship to Paul, which also benefits them. As one commentator puts it: “The Corinthians were strong in activities that are local to and centered on them, […] but weak on those that are for the benefit of those outside.” [Barnett, 403] In other words, the Corinthians had certain ways they liked to allow their blessings to overflow, and certain ways they didn’t. Theological knowledge to share with others around them – that they liked. A special revelation to proclaim to those they worshiped with – also a good one. But giving their money to a church hundreds of miles away, which they would see no return on in their own lives … that they did not like so much. That was not their preferred way to overflow.” — Steven Nicoletti
  1. Priorities (v. 8-9)
I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poorso that you by his poverty might become rich.
TAKEAWAYS: How can we avoid the empty promises of money? By considering…
* My Excuses
* God’s Ways
“In the Old Testament, we know the Old Testament believers were required to give away 10 percent of their annual income to God’s work, to the poor, and so on. Everything we know from both pagan and Christian historical texts, from the New Testament and early Christian and even pagan historical texts is the early Christians went way beyond the tithe. They went way beyond 10 percent. As a result, the pagans had never seen anybody this promiscuous with their money. They’d never seen people give their money away in such proportion…they’d never seen people give it away with joy. Here’s the reason why. Christians don’t worship money.” — Timothy Keller
* The Why
“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again…it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.”  — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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